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NCAA Tournament: First Four Viewing Guide

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How to watch the appetizers for the Big Dance, including Kansas State/Wake Forest.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Four Practice Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA Tournament starts tonight! While some will argue that it doesn’t really start until Thursday, when the field is whittled down to 64 teams, there is no denying that there will be basketball played today and tomorrow that will impact the tourney. In fact, there is one such game that will have a major impact on the Cincinnati Bearcats’ time in the Big Dance, with the winner of Kansas State and Wake Forest taking on the No. 6 seed Bearcats on Friday. Here’s all the viewing info you’ll need for that game and the rest of the First Four.

First Four Viewing Guide

Game Date Tip Time (ET) Network Site Commentators
Game Date Tip Time (ET) Network Site Commentators
Mount St. Mary's vs. New Orleans March 14 6:40 p.m. truTV Dayton Brian Anderson / Clark Kellogg / Lewis Johnson
Kansas State Wildcats vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons March 14 Approx. 9:10 p.m. truTV Dayton Brian Anderson / Clark Kellogg / Lewis Johnson
North Carolina Central vs. UC Davis March 15 6:40 p.m. truTV Dayton Spero Dedes / Steve Smith / Len Elmore / Ros Gold-Onwude
Providence Friars vs. USC Trojans March 15 Approx. 9:10 p.m. truTV Dayton Spero Dedes / Steve Smith / Len Elmore / Ros Gold-Onwude

In the first “play-in” game, the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers will take on the New Orleans Privateers for a chance to face No. 1 overall seed Villanova in the first round.

New Orleans (20-11) is making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1996 after winning the Southland Conference Tournament in overtime against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The Privateers are anchored by conference player of the year Erik Thomas, who led the Southland in field goal percentage and ranked second in scoring.

Mount St. Mary’s is dancing for the fourth time in the last 20 years and the first time since 2014. Coming out of the Northeast Conference, the 19-14 Mountaineers won the regular season title as well as the league’s conference tournament. Elijah Long (15.4 PPG) and Junior Robinson (14.1 PPG) are the players to watch.

Wake Forest and Kansas State will battle it out with the winner set to take on Cincinnati Friday night in Sacramento. Wake Forest (19-13) used to be a mainstay in the tournament, but this is its first appearance since 2010 and first under head coach Danny Manning, who is in his third year at the helm. Forward John Collins leads the potent offensive machine for the Demon Deacons, who will have their hands full against a more balanced Kansas State team (20-13), which hasn’t gone dancing since 2014. Senior forwards Wesley Iwundu and D.J. Johnson will try to counter Collins and company.

On Wednesday, two No. 16 seeds will be entangled for a shot at an NCAA Tournament win and a date with No. 1 seed Kansas. NC Central is coming off a 25-8 season and has danced as recently as 2014. The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champions are powered by Patrick Cole (19.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 5.7 APG), who does pretty much everything. On the other side is an NCAA Tournament newcomer in Big West champion UC Davis. The Aggies slew the Anteaters of UC Irvine (the conference’s regular season champions) to earn a spot. Brynton Lemar is the star power for their side.

Lastly, No. 11 seeds Providence and USC will test themselves to see if they have what it takes to face off with No. 6 seed and American Athletic Conference champion SMU in the first round. Ed Cooley and his Friars are playing in the NCAA Tournament for a school record fourth-straight season. An at-large selection from the Big East, the Friars own a 20-12 record and employ the services of Rodney Bullock (15.7 PPG). As for the Trojans, they have now made back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances after missing out in the first two years after they lured Andy Enfield away from Florida Gulf Coast. At 24-9, USC is an at-large bid from the Pac-12 and will need strong play from Bennie Boatwright and Chimezi Metu to keep the weekend going.